Japanese can be a challenging language to learn, particularly because it uses three different writing systems: hiragana and katakana (which are like alphabets) and kanji (which are Chinese characters). Last year, Austin learned to read and write both hiragana and katakana and learned to read and write the first 80 kanji which all first graders in Japan learn. Now, he is working on learning the next 160 of them as a second grader. Ethan, who is still kindergarten age in Japan, can read all the hiragana, but is just starting to tackle learning to write them. We’ve been devoting a little time during our homeschooling to helping him learn to write these characters and he is doing a great job. Unlike the alphabet, which has 26 letters, both hiragana and katakana have 47 characters, so they take a little more time to learn.
Here is a picture of Ethan proudly posing with some of the hiragana he is learning to write.